Pay the Piper
Jane Yolen and
The singing group the Brass Rats is coming to Callie's small Massachusetts town for a concert! Callie has been able to snag a press pass from her school newspaper so she will be able to go backstage. Her parents and younger brother go to the concert, too, but it's worth it. When the music started, she even forgot how embarrassing her parents could be. When she went backstage in between acts for the interview, her brother had to go with her. He asked most of her questions. She was overcome by her immediate crush on Scott, one of the singers.
The lead singer Gringras makes an odd comment. When someone tried to follow it up, his best friend Alabas puts them off. Despite the joy of the concert, Callie can't let the comment go. After the final number, she slips back stage to ask a final question. Instead, she overhears an argument between Gringras and the show promoter. When the promoter refused to comply with Gringras' demands, Alabas says an odd poem that sounds like a...curse? Callie is able to slip out without being seen.
The next night is Halloween. She was supposed to take Nicky, her brother, out for trick or treat. But she couldn't get the article for the school paper right about the Brass Rats. Her parents give her permission to stay home while they go to a party and Nicky goes with the neighbors. She plugs in her headphones and tries to write. At 9:00 PM her parents come home in a panic. All the neighborhood children have disappeared. None had returned from trick or treat nor have they been seen.
Jane Yolen and her son, Adam Stemple, have written the first of more planned Rock 'n' Roll Fairy Tales. This one focuses on a story written over 600 years ago, the Pied Piper. It intertwines the land of faerie with present day United States. Pay the Piper is a novella for young adults, easily appealing to fantasy lovers as young as twelve (I hope - it's been a while since I remember what 12-year-olds read - I think my younger child moved from The Cat in the Hat to The Shining overnight.). It is easy to read and keeps the reader's attention.
I feel that Peter Gringras and the Brass Rats could have been better expanded. Callie's story is well told and hits a good tone for a 14-year-old leaving childhood, embarrassed by and loving to her parents and brothers. Gringas' story in the land of faerie starts abruptly, without enough explanation. This is still a fun tale and an enjoyable, if quick, read.
These reviews are personal opinions only and in no way reflect other readers' opinions of the books discussed.
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